Can money buy happiness? In this article, we will leave this question without an answer. But we will tell you about the 5-HTP diet supplements, the precursor to serotonin's happiness hormone. You will find everything you need to know about the supplement: impacts, side effects, and purchase information.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is the common abbreviation for 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is a chemical byproduct of the protein building block L-tryptophan. 5-HTP increases the production of serotonin in the brain and central nervous system.
The body can form an intermediate serotonin synthesis from L-tryptophan. However, to convert 5-HTP to serotonin, sufficient amounts of L-tryptophan must be available.
What Does 5-HTP Do for Your Body?
5-HTP is only needed for the production of serotonin. Therefore, all of its effects are linked to those of serotonin. Serotonin is also known as the happiness hormone because it is involved in mood regulation. For example, low serotonin levels can cause depression.
Serotonin is also the starting substance for melatonin. Melatonin is also a hormone produced in the brain, essential for the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is increasingly released in the dark and makes you tired.
L-Tryptophan → 5-HTP → Serotonin → Melatonin
5-HTP is required for the production of both hormones. Therefore, this is essential for a good mood and a restful sleep.
When Does the Additional Intake of 5-HTP Make Sense?
In principle, there is no 5-HTP in the western diet. Thus, the level in the blood is determined by the uptake of L-tryptophan. This amino acid competes with other amino acids at the blood-brain barrier and is mainly found in animal products. Therefore, vegans or vegetarians are not adequately supplied with them. The result can be a lack of serotonin.
Products with 5-HTP can then provide a better mood.
There are also certain diseases where taking the amino acid can be beneficial:
- Migraines: A study indicates that 5-HTP can reduce the severity and duration of migraines. Therefore it can be part of the main treatment.
- Fibromyalgia: People who have fibromyalgia have chronic muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia as symptoms. Your serotonin levels are low, so taking products with 5-HTP is an option.
- Sleep Disorders: According to some studies, 5-HTP prolongs the REM sleep phase and improves sleeping disorders.
- Depression: Such a disease as depression can reduce the serotonin level. 5-HTP can be taken in addition to treatment.
If you suspect that your body is not producing enough serotonin, taking capsules can be exciting. But before you buy 5-HTP, you should consider a few things.
5-HTP Side Effects
- If 5-HTP is taken in high doses, undesirable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain can occur. These side effects are dose-dependent. Therefore, starting with a low dosage makes sense and increasing it slowly.
- If you take medication such as antidepressants or prescription painkillers in addition to the capsules, it’s essential to discuss the 5-HTP intake with your doctor.
Particular antidepressants are aimed at the increasing level of serotonin. Thus your serotonin levels can rise too high, even becoming life-threatening.
How Long Does it Take for 5-HTP to Work?
It can only take a few days or two weeks until you notice the first effects. In principle, the 5-HTP from the capsules gets into the blood relatively quickly. After an hour or two, it's already in your bloodstream.
- Both serotonin and melatonin are produced in the brain from the amino acid 5-HTP. The former is essential for a balanced mood and the latter for restful sleep.
- Depression, fibromyalgia, or a vegetarian or vegan diet can reduce the serotonin level. It is where dietary supplements come into play.
- If you want to buy 5-HTP, you should be aware of the possible side effects of abdominal pain.
- After a few days, but no later than two weeks, you should notice the first results.
Disclaimer: This article is a collaborative effort of the CLAV editorial team, created on the current literature base. All our publications are supplemented with passion and expertise for naturopathy and a healthy lifestyle. Our medical experts approve all texts before publication. Please Note: Dietary supplements are no substitute for a balanced, healthy diet or medical advice.